When I was in first grade, I wanted to be an author. When other kids wanted to be doctors or firefighters or astronauts, I wanted to be a storyteller.
I inherited my love of books from my mom. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a book on my nightstand, and if I’m not reading something, I am desperately searching for something to read. In sixth grade, I showed my teacher that I was reading The Lord of the Rings. She told me it was too advanced and to try something easier. I still read it, partly just to prove her wrong.
I wrote stories and submitted them to grade school contests. In high school, I wrote fan fiction with my best friend. I was constantly mentally inserting myself into books, movies, and musicals, creating a role for myself. I was in love with the idea that I could create something that didn’t already exist. I could take charge and do what I wanted.
I let go of writing in my college years but was still highly creative. I still had the desire to insert myself into other worlds, so I studied theatre with an emphasis in acting. When I realized that the acting world wasn’t for me (see this post for a more on that revelation), I unknowingly let go of my creativity. For about seven years, I let Practical Cate take over. I didn’t realize that the restlessness that I felt, the longing that had me wandering from room to room in my house searching for something, was my creativity screaming to be let out. In August 2018, in a moment of clarity, I realized that I needed to write again. I scrapped the guest bedroom (that no one ever slept in because I never have guests) and made myself a writing room. My mom likes to call it my office, but I don’t like that term. That sounds too much like a place to work, and this room isn’t that. It’s a place to play.
I want to be a writer so deep down in my soul that I can’t find where it originates. I want to be a writer so I can share myself, my truth, the one kernel of life that only I can see with the world. I want to be a writer so that I can feel joy and pain and excitement and sorrow and adventure in ways that I don’t in my everyday simple life. I want to hold my book in my hands and feel more proud of myself than I ever have. (Side note: technically, prouder is the word, but I think that feels clunky so I’m using more proud!) I want to know what it feels like to achieve a dream. I want to be on the other side of “If I can do it, so can you,” and I want to mean it with every fiber of my being.
I want to be a writer because I am a writer. I have always been a writer, since I wrote my first Young Author submission book at the age of six. I will always be a writer, even if nothing is published or praised or widely distributed. I’ll be a writer in my 90s, still journaling at the end of each day. Hopefully some day this writer turns into an author, and I can tell my six-year-old self that she did it.